In this paper, we present parts of an online qualitative research project which lasted a whole semester about the understanding of real numbers by sixty first-year Greek mathematics undergraduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We focus on the distinction between rational and irrational numbers and their location on the number line using straightedge and compass. The results, came of questionnaires, focused interviews and tasks, disclosed some gaps regarding real numbers that the students had from school and revealed confusion between irrational numbers and their decimal approximation. The results also led us to group students’ conceptions of rational and irrational numbers into five categories related to the number and pattern of decimal digits. Teaching practices and perspectives as well as the, negative, impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning mathematics are discussed.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.